BC Premier Christy Clark is pledging to develop a system to keep aboriginal children from landing in government care.
“Our goal is to try to do this as soon as possible.”
That from aboriginal relations minister John Rustad on a timeline for the premier’s promise.
The premier made the comments to First Nations leaders the annual Cabinet First Nations leaders gathering.
Changes for both children in foster care and children at risk
She says the province will change the adoptions act, making it easier for troubled kids to stay in their communities, but took the promise one step further.
“The next step is a process that will keep indigenous children from coming into the child welfare system all together. And then we need to expand it to address those children who are already in care.”
Rustad says no funding has been pledged for the change and that they’re still working with first nations communities to develop a model.
Skepticism looming due to B.C.’s track record
But the head of B.C.’s Union of BC Indian Chiefs says he’s leery of Clark’s promise.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says he’s dubious based on the province’s previous track record with kids in care.
“In many ways it’s empty rhetoric because the practice continues unabated. It’s worse than it’s ever been, and not only First Nations, but the general public have acknowledged a crisis with child welfare.”
Phillip also says he was disappointed with the Premier’s speech for failing to address any issues around outstanding title rights or a framework for reconciliation.